Airports, Airlines, Aviation

Airport Review: RDU

Like I mentioned last week I speak some time down south in Raleigh, North Carolina for a wedding on Lake George if anyone out there has heard of it. First I focused on the on the flying and airline aspect, for this week I will apply the tripchi magnifying glass to the airport. This was my second time to RDU and let’s just say the first time wasn’t the best, but it was no fault of RDU. I was flying RDU-BWI on Southwest out of Terminal 1 and was about to board the plane when the PA cracked and the terminal was informed BWI ATC tower had ben struck by lightning and all flights we being diverted. Our flight was delayed 4hrs. So I was hopeful this time would be different.

terminal rdu

A 2 Terminal System

Like many other small airports in the US, there are two terminals, one for Southwest, and one for all the rest. RDU is one of those airports but this time I would be in Terminal 2. Terminal 1 is older, smaller and only host Southwest. There isn’t a whole lot to do so I was eager to see what T2 looked like. A little background about RDU. It is 4.5 miles northwest of downtown Raleigh making it a quick drive to and from the airport or by the Triangle Transit bus. There are three runways, 352 daily flights and 9 million people came through the airport last year. If you are renting a car the rental agencies are a mile away and easy accessible by shuttle bus. A simply designed and easy to access the airport, what more could you ask for.


T2: I’ll Be Back

Like I said before we were flying out of T2 on American Eagle. We returned the car a solid 1.5hrs before the flight and promptly was greeted by an extremely friendly shuttle bus driver who zipped us over to T2. One thing you always notice about flying through the south is how friendly ever one is. We leisurely entered the terminal which is very spacious with high ceiling and felt very inviting. I really beat the low ceiling and smell of LGA, that review is for another day. My sister and I were not sitting together so I went to speak with an American agent. I asked if we could possible be seated together and she replied “Hun I promise to do my best” which I very much appreciated and she did indeed get us seats together. We then headed to security where we greeted by the TSA with a hello. They say the South is slow, but we buzzed right security with ease. Very rarely in today’s domestic travel world does everyone in the security line know the drill, but on this day I got lucky my friends.


Terminal 2 to me is the perfect size and well run. Not too small, not too large. It’s just right. You come down the escalator and your can go right or left, simple. The terminal has a modern feel and very clean with beautiful indirect natural lighting from large skylights and has wonderful acoustics. Even when very busy, it is not loud inside at all. The atmosphere here gives the feel of “calmness,” which is quite a feat for an airport these days. You can easily grab a Starbucks coffee, shop for a book or grab a quick drink except on Sundays. My sister and I had a hankering for a bloody mary and we were informed in NC you can’t serve alcohol before noon on Sundays. Maybe the South isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Terminal 2 is very inviting and gives you a sense of Southern hospitality and just can’t be beaten for a small airport.

All and all RDU is a great small airport. It is easily accessed from downtown, friendly employees and a great feel make it a perfect airport. We here at tripchi love airports with a good vibe and RDU certainly has that. Next time you fly through RDU makes sure to use tripchi as your guide. Travel On!

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